SAS cancels another 1,200 flights as pilot strike continues

Posted April 30, 2019

SAS pilots went on strike on Friday as wage talks broke down, grounding around 70 per cent of the airline's flights and affecting about 280,000 passengers including the latest cancellations.

Scandinavian airline SAS has canceled more than 1,200 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday due to the pilots' strike, which has already affected about 170,000 passengers.

SAS pilots went on strike on Friday amid a deadlock in talks on wages, as the company has been cutting costs in a move to compete with regional low-priced airlines such as Norwegian Air and Ryanair.

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The SAS Pilot Group, a union body representing 95 percent of the airline's pilots in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, says that the dispute concerns more than simply wages, pointing to demands for more predictable and transparent working hours.

It plans to cancel another 1,213 flights on Monday and Tuesday, hitting some 110,000 passengers. This will affect 61,000 passengers on Monday and 49,000 passengers on Tuesday.

SAS said it "deeply regrets" the distress to clients on its domestic, European and long-haul flights. Almost 600 flights were cancelled after the industrial action began on Friday.... SAS advised passengers to check on the airline's website for details of canceled flights.

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"Now we both have to take responsibility and come back to concrete discussions to find solutions that also make the company have a future, even after this conflict", Gustafson told Sweden's news agency TT. The Swedish pilots union disputes the figure, saying salaries start at 34,000 crowns, rising over 25 years to 98,000.

The Cockpit Association of Norway and the Swedish Airline Pilots Association said they were willing to resume negotiations if approached by the employer.

The Danish lender Sydbank on Friday predicted that the strike was likely to cost SAS 60 to 80 million Danish kronor (€8-11 million, $9-12 million) per day.

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